est. 2008

Chicago Waterfront Engagement

Mary Dougherty

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ABOUT mary

I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories





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couple looks out to waterfront during sunset in Chicago Engagement Session by film wedding photographer Mary Dougherty

I had no idea this Chicago waterfront engagement session would turn into one of my all time favorites. The tones in these film images are everything I dream of. Tell me the lake is always like this… but I’m pretty sure we got lucky. I flew out to photograph Liz and Adam before their Detroit wedding at the Masonic Temple and this is what I captured.

Liz and I grew up going to the same school and running on the same amazing high school team (go Grosse Pointe South). So, it was a huge honor to be invited back to create photographs for her during this time. Since graduating and moving away she started a job in broadcasting and there she met Adam. Equally similar and opposite they balance each other so well.

pulling holding hands walking together chic elegant couple in chicago engagement session by Mary Dougherty

Chicago Waterfront Engagement Session

The plan for this shoot was to start with more casual images. In their neighborhood and at Wrigley Field then on to the waterfront. I ended up loving this set more. The glam look and perfect sunset speaks volumes. Afterwards we went out to dinner and I can’t imagine a better plan for an engagement session.

close embrace hug kiss on the forehead shot on film during engagement session in Chicago by film photographer Mary Dougherty

how we created this natural editorial look

There are two things that I find to be the key to pulling off a set of images like this. The first is trust in me. Not just in the way you expect your photographer to get the shot you want, but knowing that I have a vision for what will work. This gives you permission to be yourself in front of the camera and move past any fears or anxiety.

A second key is to commiting to an elevated style. A lot of couples are initially afraid of dressing up, since it seems like too much compared to their day to day. However, you don’t take pictures that often, so I say go for it. Hair and makeup before the shoot and a well thought out look will make all the difference.

chic couple kisses while walking in Chicago on waterfront during sunset by Mary Dougherty
couple walks during sunset on the waterfront with Chicago city skyline in the background by film wedding photographer Mary Dougherty

Chicago has a perfect skyline to see from the water. I can’t believe how stunning it was that night. They danced it away – for a moment – and Liz told me later it convinced them they needed dance lessons before the wedding.

classic couple dances in bw film with chicago skyline behind them by Mary Dougherty
couple kiss on the cheek in Chicago engagement photo by film wedding photographer Mary Dougherty

I love how effortless they look, and it just shows that you don’t have to go over the top to achieve and elegant editorial look.

couple smiles looking towards water on the riverfront in Chicago engagement photo by film wedding photographer Mary Dougherty
couple dances and twirls into dip in Chicago with city skyline in distance at night engaged by Mary Dougherty
portrait of woman holding man with ring looking over shoulder bw abstract modern engagement photo on film by Mary Dougherty
portrait of a man and woman kissing with Chicago skyline city in the background engagement photo on bw film by Mary Dougherty
couple stands in front of lights in embrace happy in Chicago downtown in bw by Mary Dougherty

As a destination wedding photographer I find new places are normal. What brings things together are the relationships and people. I would love to hear from you if you are interested in learning about working together. Send me a message and so I can hear about what you are planning and share how I can make your wedding even better.

Chicago in bw at night city lights with romantic moment for engaged couple Mary Dougherty

The Find Lab processed all the film from this shoot. The Chicago Wedding blog Chi Thee Wed recently featured this shoot, see it here!

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